Bolasie Does Homework In Bid To Help Everton Marksman Cenk

by Paul McNamara

Yannick Bolasie is aiming to supply the ammunition for Everton new-boy Cenk Tosun to fire the Toffees to a strong Premier League finish.

Winger Bolasie has already been doing his homework on Turkey international striker Tosun – who joined the Blues from Besiktas earlier this month – in a bid to ensure the pair’s on-pitch relationship gets off on a positive footing.

Everton have been slightly hamstrung of late by their lack of potency in front of goal. But with Tosun introduced into the mix and the Toffees up to ninth following the significant improvement in fortunes masterminded by manager Sam Allardyce, Bolasie is convinced his side has the ideal platform to string together a run of positive results.

And the 28-year-old insists there could be no better venue for the Blues to kick-start their 2018 than Wembley, where Allardyce takes his team to play Tottenham Hotspur on Saturday.

Bolaise, who grew up in the shadow of the national stadium in Willesden, twice played at the rebuilt Wembley for Crystal Palace.

He scored at the ground when Palace beat Watford in the 2016 FA Cup semi-finals – but was on the losing side against Manchester United in the final.

“I have played at Wembley two times – a win and a loss – and scored a goal there, so I have some good memories of the stadium," said Bolasie. "Hopefully I can create a new one this weekend.

“This was one of the fixtures I had my eye on for the past year or so while I was injured. It was always a dream of mine to play there, so I feel a little bit spoiled – but another opportunity to get on the field there would be great.

“I am looking forward to developing an understanding with Cenk. I always try to do that with any player on the pitch – and mainly the forwards, because I am an attacker.

“I have been watching clips of Cenk to see how he gets his goals and I will be trying to link up with him when we are on the pitch together.   

“He has not played yet but from what I have seen in training he looks like a great finisher and he gets into positions that strikers need to be.”

Bolasie started and finished last week’s FA Cup tie with Liverpool – the first time he had completed 90 minutes since November 2016.

Everton were unfortunate to exit the competition after delivering a controlled and progressive performance across Stanley Park. But Bolasie drew plenty of encouragement from the way his side set about their hosts.

He was particularly struck by the second-half performance of fellow Londoner Ademola Lookman, who recently celebrated his one-year anniversary as an Everton player following his move from Charlton Athletic last January.

“I have always been impressed with ‘Mola,” said Bolasie, who returned to action in the Boxing Day draw at West Bromwich Albion. “It was a major challenge for him, at his age, to step out of London and come to a new club – and try to get into the first-team.

“But he has got the ability to make it, that is for sure. I have been very impressed with what I have seen and look forward to seeing him on the pitch more.

“The team has had a lot of changes, we have had three different managers this season and it also takes time for the players to get to know each other.

“But we started picking up some form just before I came back and you could see the players had started getting used to each other. That is what it is going to take for us to gel together and become a better team.”

Everton’s upturn in form coincided with the appointment of manager Allardyce, who was unbeaten in his first seven games in charge.

The Blues suffered two Premier League defeats around the turn of the year, however, and consequently lost some ground on the teams immediately above them in the table.

Nevertheless, DR Congo international Bolasie is optimistic Everton will recover their stride imminently. And he insists former Sunderland and Crystal Palace boss Allardyce deserves great credit for injecting confidence and direction into his side.

“I have always been given the message [by Allardyce] to just be free and I tend to find myself playing better when it has been like that,” added Bolasie.

“The manager has done a great job so far and I will not be surprised if we end up finishing the season really strongly because he has got us doing the basics again. Speaking to a lot of the Palace boys who played under him last season, they rated him highly.

“We have recovered well but the past three results have not been great. We know we have to do better.

“But we are into the new year now and a lot of players are coming back. The team is starting to pick up its confidence, especially after the Liverpool performance. We were unlucky to come away with nothing and if we can take that performance into the Premier League we will be a problem for any team.”

Season Ticket, Lounge or We Are Everton Member?

Login then click HERE to check out the latest exclusive content, including player features, classic highlights, interviews and more.


View More